Good always triumphs

By Mary Dennehy

AS A Tallaght community unites in goodwill after more than €5,000 in donations destined for St Vincent de Paul were stolen, primary school children in the area have issued a Christmas message that “good always triumphs over bad”.

Last week, the parish of St Aengus was left heartbroken after more than €5,000 raised by the community for St Vincent de Paul was robbed – with local priest Father Ben Moran branding the theft a “robbery of the poor”.

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Kids from Scoil Aonghusa Senior 

Two parishioners were transporting the money raised for families in need on Wednesday, December 12, when they were approached in the car park of St Aengus Church by a lone male with a knife.

Father Ben Moran told The Echo that during the mugging, one of the parishioners received a minor stab wound in the arm and was brought to Tallaght University Hospital.

Despite the heartbreak and anger felt by the community, which showed great generosity and goodwill in raising more than €5,000 for SVP, people of all ages have united in recent days in a Christmas mission to try and recoup some of the money stolen.

Locally, the pupils of Scoil Íosa and Scoil Aonghusa Senior School staged a Christmas jumper day, while students at St Joseph’s Special School donned their jerseys to raise funds for SVP.

All of the money donated across local schools has been lodged and is with SVP in time for Christmas.

St Joseph’s principal Graeme Crombie told The Echo: “The jersey day was a nice way for the kids to give something back.

“It was a good gesture towards the church and also in support of SVP, which does a huge amount of work in this community, especially at Christmas.”

In a letter to The Echo, 6th class pupil Adam O’Reilly Hannigan, who is the chairman of Scoil Aonghusa Senior School’s Student Council, said that following the robbery students decided to give the money raised in a Christmas jumper day to St Vincent de Paul instead of putting it towards the purchase of iPads for the school.

The Christmas jumper day was held last Friday in “an effort to recoup the money stolen”, with more than €750 raised on the day for SVP, all of which has been lodged.

“It was very important for the children to show how supportive the community of St Aengus is and to send a Christmas message that, good always triumphs over bad,” Adam wrote.

Scoil Aonghusa Junior school also sent a text message to parents inviting them, in light of the robbery, to give a small voluntary donation to SVP at the school’s Christmas show rather than buying gifts for teachers.

While Tallaght Community School made a presentation to SVP last week, which is an annual Christmas tradition at the local secondary school.

Alongside schools, gestures of goodwill have been made by the wider community, with more than €1,600 being raised through two GoFundMe pages created by residents.

Speaking with The Echo a week after the robbery, Father Ben Moran said: “Many were very angry that the parish’s outreach to the poor at Christmas was targeted, people were really horrified.

“However, from it there has been a lot of expressions of goodwill and a focus on the work of St Vincent de Paul.

“So many people, especially some of our younger residents, were not fully aware of what SVP does in the background all year long . . . and the work that they do to help so many families in so many different ways.

“It facilitated discussion and helped raise more awareness around the work of SVP.”

"People's generosity is a greater light"

He added: “We have seen in recent days that this robbery, theft, greed was never going to have the upper hand.

“The generosity and goodwill of the people was always going to win out, it is bigger and greater.

“People’s generosity is a greater light than this crime.”

Father Moran stressed that the parish has had its security reviewed and updated, with no cash being kept on the premises as is the Diocesan policy.

Gardai have confirmed to The Echo that they are still investigating the theft and assault.

Anybody with information is encouraged to contact Tallaght Garda Station on 6666000 or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111.

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